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September 14th 2009

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    I sometimes think it better to consider plants as being on the verge of death from the moment of their germination.  This way the ruse of perfection is completely eradicated from imagination.  And this way a tomato vine is precious not because of its wealth of fruiting body, but because of it's antecedence.

   The "Not Cherry" variety of tomato that has grown in the vegetable garden came in a plastic bag from the friend who lives too far away.  Currently a progeny of those seeds is a blackened vine with one handsome green leaf and a straggle of stunted but still ripening fruit.  This vine has been for some months a seedbed of ague waiting to plague next years garden.  Yet she is still there in valiant defiance, despite the cruel looks and murderous suggestions that have been tossed at her.

    Others will tell me that "Not Cherry" has too frail a strain of 'being' to maintain a future amongst a surfeit of blight and pestilence.  They will tell me that from the catalogue the latest wonder plant can be obtained, so long as the credit card is good.  I will see photographs of perfection suitably attired by this myth of health and happiness, and I will curl my lip and I will breeze through complimentary adjectives related to taste, size, color and vigor.

 

    Also I understand that after several years "Not Cherry" is dissected by visiting gametes and that next year she may be very peculiar indeed.  And I am aware there is that part of me that leaps to her defense no matter the circumstance.  In short it is for me a condition of loyalty, rather than anything approaching reasonableness that connects me to this plant.

    But in the course of time, with so many excuses not yet rendered, there is the possibility that loyalty to "Not Cherry" will get lost to that same disorder which leads a person to forget such things as birthdays, anniversaries and the day of the week.

    I might even have written myself a note in July.  It would have said "Not Cherry seeds before August".  And there would be an exclamation mark, to suggest urgency!   So better to go now, pluck her ripest tomato and try to extract the essence of her existence so that next year we might again share time.

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tim candler

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